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Fresh row over 2012 troops movement near Delhi

Friday, 21 February 2014

Patna/New Delhi: A fresh controversy has  erupted over the movement of two Army units near Delhi in 2012 with the then DGMO Lt Gen A K Choudhary saying there may have been "distrust" between the Army and government on the issue, a view rejected today by the National Security Advisor(NSA).

"There was misconception or there was perceptional difference or there may be distrust," Choudhary said today after he was quoted in an interview, saying that the then Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma had asked him to send the troops back as the government at the highest level was "worried" over this.

When asked about this, NSA Shivshankar Menon said there was no distrust between the Army and government.

"I don't see there is distrust. How can I comment on something that I don't see. Because I am a civilian, I work very closely with the Army everyday. I don't see that," he said.

The movement of the troops was a "normal" exercise, Choudhary said, and the government immediately "understood" the issue after he explained the matter to them. "But before that either there was misconception... or may be distrust."

Asked by reporters whether there was any confusion in the government then over the troop movement, he shot back, "You ask them (Government)".

Pressed further whether alarm bells  had rung in the government over the issue, he said, "I won't say they were alarmed or not alarmed".

He said there was daily interaction between the Government and the Army Headquarters and if at all there was any confusion then, they could have sought clarification in such meetings.

He said the government did get "a little excited" which was "uncalled for". "I was only thinking that if there were inputs of this nature they (government) had thought about , they should have called us up and asked us for clarification. It would have finished at that point of time only."

When Sharma sought an explanation from him as the government had no information about it, he told him that this is a "normal routine" exercise and "you need not worry about it at all and they understood it".

The then Army Chief General V K Singh, whose relations with the government soured over the controversy on his date of birth, said Choudhary's comments only confirmed the hand of a senior bureaucrat linked to Chandigarh in raking it up.

"It confirms who cooked up routine move to denigrate Army," he wrote on his twitter post.


Today's E-Paper